Fr. Jim Lee, Pastor, St. Michael Catholic Church
St. Michael Catholic Church began as a mission in 1845 when the first priest arrived in the area and worked with the Native Americans. In 1875, the mission officially became a parish in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Today, St. Michael’s is a large parish of 2,300 families, with faith formation ministries for all ages, over 40 small groups for every stage of faith journey, and over 30 ministries, including outreach. One of those outreach ministries involves operating a men’s shelter in conjunction with another local parish, where they provide a home for up to 20 men each night between November and March. Parishioners serve as hosts, prepare hot meals and sack lunches, and launder linens.
In a large parish, one of the challenges is making sure people feel at home, supported, and acknowledged. So, as a stewardship parish, they wanted to equip their leadership with tools that would help them create increase engagement with everyone who comes to the parish. Three years ago, the parish began their search for a tool that would help them manage their parish on one system and give them the ability to strengthen relationships among staff and the people they serve. “We had ten tools, it was crazy. It created so much more work,” said Chris Peterson, steward for Administration. “One of the things we loved about ParishStaq is that it didn’t just give us tools as administrators, but it also gave tools to lay people who were leading groups. And not just that, it actually gave tools for parishioners to engage with the parish as well. So we were super excited when we got it, and we’re even more excited now after three years of using it. Engagement was the real reason why we chose it. We didn’t find any other program that could actually do what we were able to do with ParishStaq.”
Faith Formation Management
“My favorite feature in ParishStaq is Forms,” said Jackie Shirley, steward for Faith Formation. “It’s so easy to use and so easy to set up. It just makes our life here a lot easier.”
The Forms feature within ParishStaq allows parishioners to register for faith formation and pay tuition fees. For staff and volunteers, it helps them manage their classes, take attendance, and communicate.
ParishStaq is helping to streamline ministry management and create an intimate environment in a large parish.
“One of the things I love about the Groups function is that I don’t have to do it all,” said Peterson. “When I start to see lay leaders communicating or scheduling things, that’s something off my plate so I can focus on something else. Because ultimately, if we’re going to bring Christ to the world, everybody needs to be involved in that mission.”
The LEAD App is a mobile ChMS for leaders to access profiles, communicate, and collaborate. Fr. Jim Lee, St Michael’s pastor, has limited mobility due to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and having the app right at his fingertips is valuable to his ministry.
“The LEAD App is especially wonderful,” said Fr. Lee. “We can have some idea of who a person is, how we might be able to assist them, how we might connect them with other ministries in our parish.”
“Our program before that, which is part of the reason we looked into Pushpay, was difficult,” explained Peterson. “I hear our parishioners say ‘I love this app. It’s so easy to give.’ When you remove barriers for people to live out discipleship—and being generous is one of those aspects—it makes it easier for them to do it.”
After switching to ParishStaq, the parish saw more donors move from traditional to digital giving, more consistency in parishioners signing up for recurring giving, and increases in giving to the offertory (during the COVID-19 pandemic) and outreach ministries.
Now with connected tools that support staff collaboration, making the most of their time, and increasing generosity, St. Michael’s is able to fully live out their mission as a stewardship parish.
“Having a happy, integrated, engaged staff is not only important, but it’s also crucial,” said Fr. Lee. “We’ve been working at this very intentionally for the last three to five years, and having tools to assist us in being able to do that, stay connected with one another, and then stay connected with our parishioners, making life easier for everyone is incredibly helpful for us to work well together. It makes my life much more happy and blessed.”
- Faith Formation Management
- LEAD App